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The Time to Dream Big

how to wear a beanie, buffalo plaid scarf, ohanna boots, over the knee boots — via @TheFoxandShe

how to wear a beanie, buffalo plaid scarf, ohanna boots, over the knee boots — via @TheFoxandShe

how to wear a beanie, buffalo plaid scarf — via @TheFoxandShe

casual winter outfit — via @TheFoxandShe

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buffalo plaid scarf, cozy knit sweater — via @TheFoxandShe

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what to wear when it snows, over the knee boots — via @TheFoxandShe

over the knee boots, distressed jeans, buffalo plaid scarf — via @TheFoxandShe

The promise of new opportunity and change is one of my favorite things about a new year. It’s a chance to start fresh and after last year, this feeling is beyond welcome! I feel like I’ve painted 2015 to have been a rough year and while parts of that are true, it was most certainly not all bad. So, let me explain a bit.

The parts that were tough and wore me down were all related to my business. For the first time, I brought on hired help to develop my sites in hopes of taking the stress off of me. In theory, it sounded perfect, but in reality, it was a lot more difficult than I would have ever imagined. After a few bad experiences, I finally found some developers that were reliable and really good at what they do, but I still finished out the year completely beat down.

On the flip side, there were plenty of parts of 2015 that were wonderful. I got to travel to London and spend two weeks there with one of my best friends, congratulate both my sister and sister-in-law on their engagements, speak at the SBS con, celebrate our one year wedding anniversary, work with some extremely talented bloggers, enjoy a weekend at a spa, soak up another beautiful Chicago summer and travel to Mexico with some of my best girlfriends.

But since the last part of the year really wore me out, I took the Christmas break to step away from my inbox and just enjoy time with my family and friends and think about the future of my business and what it is that I really want to do moving forward. I can’t say I landed on any genius ideas, but the down time definitely got the wheels turning.

So as this new year kicks into gear, I really feel like I’m wiping the slate clean and taking a step back and thinking about what I actually want to accomplish this year. I purchased a new planner and I’m looking forward to filling it with new adventures and less stress. This year I plan to be less focused on my design business, and more focused on doing work that means more to me — the work that makes me happier and more fulfilled. Here are few more of my resolutions, dreams and goals for the new year:

  1. Learn to Sew

    A few years ago I took a sewing class where I learned how to make a pillow and had grand intentions of recovering every pillow in my house, but guess what? I never sewed another one because I had too much work on my plate. I love making things, especially things for the home, so I plan on taking that class again and taking better notes so I can easily remake them at home. I also really want to try my hand at fabric dying. I bought a book on shibori fabric a year ago and it’s just begging to be read!

  2. Take Better Care of My Skin

    I’m starting to see more wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyes and know that I need to take better care of my skin. I wear moisturizer with SPF in it everyday, but I’m sure I could invest in some eye creams or something to help slow those wrinkles. Suggestions welcome!

  3. Work Less

    Last year I fell into a routine where I got so far behind that I wasn’t able to ever catch up. It felt awful. I was grumpy, tired and irritable far more than I’d like to admit and it was all due to working too much. This year is all about working smarter, not harder so that I can enjoy every day a little more.

  4. Save Intentionally

    It’s not that I didn’t save last year, I just wasn’t very mindful about it. This year I want to set aside a certain amount each month and invest on a regular basis. We still rent our place, but someday we’ll want to buy our own place and those savings will come in handy!

  5. Enjoy Cooking Again

    I’ve mentioned it on here before, but if you’re new, I originally started blogging about food (many years ago) because I wanted to be a chef. I did a semester of culinary school and realized that while I love cooking, I didn’t want to do it for a living.

    I’ve always loved cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, but last year’s crazy schedule made me resent cooking because it added to my daily frustration. At the end of a super busy day, the last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner and I hated that I felt that way. I’m hoping that by working less, I’ll be able to find joy in cooking again. I received this beautiful new cookbook (worth buying even if you don’t cook!) for Christmas and can’t wait to crack it open!

  6. Grow My Business

    Yes, this sort of contradicts #3, but the business growth I’m talking about here has to do with the blog. If I’m being honest, my passion lies here. I love writing (even if I’m not the best writer), taking and editing photos and creating content that inspires and helps my readers. I love interacting with readers through the blog or social media and have been blessed with some wonderful friends that I’ve met through blogging.

    My goal for this year is to grow this little blog as much as possible and for me that means a lot more forward planning and hard work, but it’s work that I’m excited and passionate about! I also have big plans for The Blog Shop in 2016 — I’ll be adding new products (just launched this one!!!), new pre-fab themes and also exploring other ideas that provide passive income so that I can focus on making the content here even better.

  7. Practice Story-Telling

    This sort of falls under the category of making the blog even better. One of my favorite blogs is A Cup of Jo. The way she writes and is able to tell stories that reach her readers on a deeper level is so amazing to me. I hope that I can become a better story-teller through my writing in the new year. Now that I’m thinking about it, I should probably take a writing course. Hmm, not sure where to start on that one…again, suggestions welcome!

  8. Travel & Be Present

    We already have some travel plans for the new year and I haven’t been this excited for trips and adventure in a long time. Maybe the notion of not having as much on my plate makes the idea of traveling seem so much more exciting, but either way, I fully plan on making the most of all of our trips, even the small ones this year.

  9. Be a Better Friend

    Again, too much work in 2015, caused me to push some relationships to the side and when I realized it, I felt terrible. I have some incredible, amazing and loving friends out there and I was not a good friend back. This year, I’m setting aside time to call them and talk to them more.

As 2016 starts, I’m taking this first month extra slow. I’m not taking on any new design work and giving myself a break to get caught up, focus on my blog and the work I do for my dad’s company and simply think. Hopefully having a clear, more focused mindset will allow me to see just what it is I need to be doing this year. I have to admit, the uncertainty of what is next is a bit frightening, but also incredibly exciting. The feeling reminds me a bit of when I first moved to Chicago, not sure of what the future held for me, but incredibly open and delighted about what it could offer.

What are you resolving to do in the new year? What goals or dreams are you chasing and how will you accomplish them? I’d love to hear what’s on your mind as a new year starts!